Update (11/3): The Illinois State Board of Education launched the 2017 Interactive Report Card today as a follow up to its release Tuesday of the Illinois Report Card.
The state has listed the district's graduation rate as 67 percent, despite reporting last week a rate of 72.9 percent. The 67 percent rate is still higher than the 2016 Report Card rate of 65 percent, showing year-over-year growth on the four-year graduation rate. Below is the year-over-year growth at each RPS 205 high school:
Percentage point increase
The initial state-reported rate (72.9%) did not reflect RPS 205 students with disabilities who are served in special education cooperatives or private facilities. These students are not served in any of our four traditional high schools, therefore their graduation rates are not included in the individual school graduation rates. They are, however, reflected in the combined district average. This is a change from prior State Report Cards.
"We are still encouraged by the substantial improvement we've seen at each of our high schools, and we are proud of their individual growth on this critical measure," said Superintendent Ehren Jarrett.
Update (10/31): RPS 205 administrators are investigating a discrepancy between the graduation rate the Illinois State Board of Education provided to the district last week vs. what's reported on the Illinois Report Card today. Administrators are analyzing the data and working with the State Board of Education to find clarity. We will provide updated information as soon as it's available.
News Release (10/31): Rockford Public Schools is seeing growth and improvement at its high schools, most notably in the district’s four-year graduation rate which jumped from 65% in 2016 to 72.9% in 2017. The rate has grown even as the administration and School Board increased rigor and requirements to graduate – including eight additional credits and a third year of science. That’s among dozens of data points made public today on the Illinois Report Card through the Illinois State Board of Education.
The annual report provides a series of data points, including the percentage of students meeting or exceeding expectations on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC standardized test. Students who are meeting or exceeding expectations have demonstrated readiness for the next grade level/course and, ultimately, are on track for college and careers. Highlights:
The district’s four-year graduation rate increased nearly 8 percentage points from last year:
- 2012 62%
- 2013 64%
- 2014 68%
- 2015 67%
- 2016 65%
- 2017 72.9%
The rate of freshmen on track to graduate is up 2.7 percentage points from last year:
- 2015 63%
- 2016 63%
- 2017 65.7%
The percent of eighth graders passing Algebra 1 increased to 25.9% in 2017 compared to 21% in 2016. Eighth graders at Eisenhower and Flinn middle schools are outpacing the state average of 29.1%.
The district’s attendance rate is 93.9%, which has been flat since 2014. It’s nearly even with the state rate of 94%.
Despite some success, plenty of work remains. The report shows declines in both English/language arts and math on comprehensive exams. Preliminary reports show the percent of students meeting or exceeding expectations has dropped from 19.1% on the 2016 report to 17.5% in 2017. The PARCC is administered to students in third through eighth grades. Six RPS 205 schools showed growth on the PARCC from 2016 to 2017:
- Thurgood Marshall 2.6 percentage points
- West View Elementary 2.2 percentage points
- Kennedy Middle 1.8 percentage points
- Conklin Elementary 1.2 percentage points
- Nelson Elementary 0.9 percentage points
- Thurgood Marshall Elementary 0.3 percentage points
SAT vs. ACT: More students at Auburn, East, Guilford and Jefferson are meeting state benchmarks. It’s not a true comparison, though, because students took the ACT in spring 2016 and the SAT in spring 2017. That’s because the state switched its college readiness assessment. Using the state’s performance as a comparison, RPS 205 is behind the state average. However, the report shows a 1.5% increase toward the state average.
|||Met ACT benchmarks||Met SAT benchmarks|
|District||30% of students||23.5% of students|
|State||46% of students||38% of students|
|(difference)||16 percentage points||14.5 percentage points|
“The PARCC was supposed to give us an opportunity to assess students differently, giving us an opportunity to change our conversation around new standards and now a new assessment, and it has. We can focus our attention on college and career readiness and prioritize our pain points, not just as the result of our PARCC, but as we look at our growth and achievement across multiple data points,” said Heidi Dettman, Executive Director of Academics. “We are rebuilding our curriculum from the ground up, and that takes time.” While administrators analyze the data, several strategies for improvement are already in place to assist student growth:
Early literacy overhaul: After a successful seven-school pilot in 2016-17, the district’s foundational literacy program, Reading Horizons, is now districtwide for kindergarten, first and second grades. As with all new programs, an implementation dip is likely to occur. But administrators are hopeful growth will mirror the pilot’s early success.
Fidelity of high school academies and AP expansion: RPS 205 has revamped its high schools with the Academy Model. Math and science curriculum will include more rigor, and electives are under review to ensure they drive college readiness, certification or career preparation. From 2011-2017, students have taken 750 more Advanced Placement exams, and the number of students taking an AP exam has grown by 293. Even with higher participation, the pass rate has remained steady: approximately 40% of students score a 3 or higher on the exam.
Growth mindset and short-cycle goal setting: Students are working with teachers to know their scores on MAP – Measures of Academic Progress, a standardized test given three times each year that measures growth. The MAP is also an indicator of success on PARCC, and it’s what RPS 205 uses to drive instruction. In a growth mindset, people believe intelligence and talent are not fixed traits and can be developed through dedication and hard work. Students focus on growth targets and have tangible evidence that they’re learning in short terms, like a four-to-six week period.
Addition of instructional coaches: 23 certified Rockford Education Association members are focusing on student needs critical to meeting growth goals. Their target is early literacy through best practices, data analysis, support and direction for teachers. Their primary focus: students reading at grade level by the end of third grade.
Support for struggling teachers: Students need high quality teachers. Teachers who struggle in the classroom (as reflected on their evaluations) are given additional support in the classroom to improve their craft. Sixty percent of teachers who completed the Peer Assistance and Review program, or PAR, returned to their regular evaluation cycle after demonstrating proficiency. This school year so far, at least 2,400 students are seeing the benefits that PAR is providing classroom teachers. This is the third year of the teacher support program.
Background on the Illinois State Report Card:
- Comprehensive exams on the Illinois Report Card include the PARCC (English/language arts and math), the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) and Dynamic Learning Maps Alternate Assessment (DLM-AA).
- The state publicly released data today from The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, the standardized test given statewide.
- The state moved to PARCC assessments in 2015 and replaced the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) for third through eighth graders and the Prairie State Achievement Exam (PSAE) for high school students.
- Now districts have three years of baseline data and can use that data to improve instruction, strategically support teachers and assess school performance beyond the state.
- Growth year over year measured on the Illinois Report Card via PARCC doesn’t accurately measure a student or school’s growth, as it measures last year’s students against the same grade-level students the year before.